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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected the resignation submitted by Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu after the minister came under heavy criticism for his implementation of a surprise lockdown in Turkey.

In a written statement about his resignation, Soylu said the scenes created after the lockdown announcement did not fit into the “perfectly managed process” by the government against the spread of Covid-19.

After the announcement of the curfew, people rushed out to markets to stock up on goods before the start of the lockdown leading to close contact between people.

In his statement, Soylu took near complete blame for the chaos and asked for “forgiveness from my dear nation, which I have never wanted to harm, and my President to whom I will be loyal till the end of my life.”

The responsibility for the implementation of the decision for the weekend belongs to me in all aspects,” he said in the written statement.

The offer of resignation was submitted to the President and was rejected, according to a written statement by the Turkish presidency.

“The decision to offer a resignation rests with the office holder but to accept it is the decision of the President. The resignation has not been accepted and the minister will continue his post,” the statement said.

The statement praised Soylu’s past performance across a wide range of policy issues as well as more recently on the Covid-19 measures.

Soylu has been a pivotal figure in Turkey’s fight against terrorism and is known as a nationalist hardliner. 

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